As we all know, this holiday season is looking different for many or most of us as we figure out how to celebrate with one another remotely. Luckily, there are many tools and tricks to help us navigate our many virtual options and find ways of connecting right now. In addition to Sara’s suggestions from last week’s Spark!, here are even more games, activities, and learning experiences to share.

First, you should know that Zoom is offering longer sessions for free accounts into the first few days of the new year. Normally, free accounts can only host meetings for 40 minutes or less. Zoom is waiving that restriction December 23-36 and December 30-January 2. This means you can enjoy extended meetings with family in other parts of the state, country, or world!

If you do decide to use Zoom, here is a handy guide to hosting your first meeting. There are also links to other videoconferencing tools, if you prefer to try something else.

This article has tons of ideas for activities to share with loved ones, including a Santa tracker, educational games for kids, and a virtual Yule log.

Another article from the Wall Street Journal provides anecdotes from several individuals interviewed about what they’re doing for the holidays this year. If you’re running low on ideas, perhaps this will inspire. You can have a movie night watch party, even long-distance, use the Houseparty app to play tabletop games with remote friends and family, or even sing carols together through Spotify.

And if you have some worries about how you might go about running any of these new programs or applications on your devices? Check out this article on doing what you can to prepare your tech (and stay safe using it) over the holidays.

Jo Sahlin,
OUUC Media Specialist